Liverpool looked adrift for much of the match at Old Trafford. While Manchester United’s goal should likely have been chalked off from a foul on Divock Origi, Liverpool did not look like they deserved a win themselves. At the end of the day, Jurgen Klopp’s substitutes proved to be the difference as Liverpool scarpered off with a draw.
Join us as we try and separate narrative from reality of the match up and how it all went down in the end.
The Substitutes: All three subs came in and had a positive impact on the game. Alexander Oxlande-Chamberlain brought a dynamic element that had been missing much of the game. Taking up a more free role behind the attackers, he showed good drive and vision when on the ball. He almost scored off of a long-range daisy cutter to steal all three points.
Adam Lallana scored a goal. He didn’t provide a whole lot else, but hey, the goal counts, right? It was Lallana’s first goal since scoring against Middlesbrough in 2017, and it came at a pretty good time. The timing of his run to get there was fantastic.
Naby Keïta only had 15 minutes to influence the game, but he was very involved. His little hesitation before passing the ball to Andrew Robertson leading up to the goal froze the defender and gave the space for the pass. He was very positive with his possession, and looks primed to step into the influential midfield role like we all expected at the start of the season.
Martin Atkinson: Let’s be honest, that was a pretty frightening display from Atkinson. The inconsistency from Atkinson on what was called a foul or a yellow card, sometimes coming just seconds apart, was laughable.
Jordan Henderson: Liverpool’s captain was thrust in an unfamiliar role in the second half, playing on the right of the 3 in a 4-2-3-1. He managed to get the ball in dangerous positions a few times, but was wasteful with his crosses, and struggled to combine. It’s not a spot you would expect his skill set to thrive in, so it’s understandable he wasn’t great in that spot.
Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane: The duo, who were off to a scintillating start to the season, struggled to have an impact on the game. Mane had a few threatening runs on the counter, but wasn’t able to really make anything happen. He had a goal disallowed from a hand ball, and didn’t manage another shot on target. Firmino was just a little off with his touch, turning the ball over much more frequently than usual. He managed to get some shots off late in the game, but was far from his influential best.
Liverpool came into the game needing one more win to match Manchester City’s longest stretch of consecutive wins in the Premier League (18). Of course the game happened to be at Old Trafford in a derby game with Manchester United. Liverpool didn’t manage to win in a dour outing, but at least managed a draw to stay unbeaten.
The application of VAR has yet again left viewers and pundits alike befuddled. While Liverpool have been on the receiving end of VAR decisions more often than not this season, they were left wanting today. The definition of “clear and obvious” seemed to certainly apply to Divock Origi getting kicked in the knee, leading to the turnover prior to the Marcus Rashford goal. Across the league this season, people have been left scratching their heads as to when decisions are changed or upheld after VAR, and has lead to teams like Aston Villa feeling particularly aggrieved.
What Happens Next
Today was the start to possibly the most difficult stretch of fixtures for Liverpool. They travel to Belgium to take on Genk in the Champions League before returning home to host reeling Tottenham Hotspur next Sunday. Hopefully Salah will be fit for Wednesday and beyond. The midfield seems to finally be healthy outside of Xherdan Shaqiri, so we could finally see a modicum of rotation with some more minutes for Oxlade-Chamberlain and Keïta.